In the middle of the Fall semester, the Nathan Hale Battalion goes into the field to have the MS3 Cadets take what they have learned throughout the year and apply it in a practical exercise that takes place over the course of several days. MS4s and Cadre work with the MS3s to best prepare them for similar situations at Advanced Camp over the summer.
Friday Afternoon, Cadets from each school representing the Nathan Hale Battalion departed to the SRMR to begin training in a field environment. Upon arrival, Cadets were issued weapon systems (either an M4 or M249) and began moving into their new squads. This was done so that each Cadet would start a little out of their comfort zone being surrounded by new people. The first event taking place at FTX was land navigation. The MS3s executed lanes by themselves, the MS2s were in pairs, and the MS1s were in groups led by MS4s. This exercise in day land navigation was followed by night land navigation following completion of the first lanes. Everyone stayed in the same groups. The next morning, the lanes for the day started. These lanes covered a wide variety of important Army knowledge consisting of: four squad attack lanes, a communications and marksmanship lane, and an individual movement technique (IMT) and patrolling lane. Each squad had a different itinerary on which order to attend the lanes. Each squad attack lane focused on a different objective (OBJ) type. Two lanes had a bunker as an OBJ while another had a temporary fighting position, and the last just personnel. This lane was used to test the Cadets on how well they had retained knowledge obtained earlier in the year on how to properly attack an OBJ. The communications section taught Cadets radio etiquette and proper usage of ASIP and SINGCAR radios. The other portion of this lane taught Cadets proper shooting technique and how to properly maintain their respective weapons. The IMT and patrolling lane was used to explain to Cadets how they should be moving in a tactical environment. It taught them what crawls worked best under fire, how far apart Cadets should be while on patrols, and other basics that are very important for Cadets to understand to achieve maximum training value at FTX and follow on training.
The efforts put into this training event made this an excellent exercise for all Cadets involved. Following FTX, all Cadets feel more comfortable in tactical scenarios and will perform better at their summer training because of it.